¿Por qué hubo tantas muertes militares estadounidenses fuera de las principales batallas de la Segunda Guerra Mundial?

¿Por qué hubo tantas muertes militares estadounidenses fuera de las principales batallas de la Segunda Guerra Mundial?

Recientemente comencé a interesarme enormemente en la Segunda Guerra Mundial. He estado investigando nueva información todos los días al respecto. Pero una de las cosas que me han interesado es la cantidad de muertes que sufrió cada país durante la guerra. Lo que más me interesan son las muertes estadounidenses en la Segunda Guerra Mundial.

El número de muertes militares en Estados Unidos fue de 417.000 durante la guerra. Y recientemente calculé que alrededor de 1/3 de las muertes fueron causadas por grandes batallas en las islas de Japón y en Europa. Pero esto todavía deja 2/3 de las muertes que no fueron causadas por conflictos importantes. ¿Cómo ocurrieron estas muertes fuera de las principales batallas? Estos números que obtuve son solo estimaciones. La mayoría de las fuentes que encontré dijeron 417.000. Agregué todas las muertes de batalla importantes para nosotros y obtuve el número 140,000, pero probablemente ese no sea el número más exacto. Entonces creo que 1/3 es más preciso. Y las batallas de las que estoy hablando son como Iwo jima y como la batalla de las protuberancias. Batallas que tuvieron mucha muerte involucrando a Estados Unidos.


En casi todas las guerras, la mayoría de las muertes no ocurren en las grandes batallas. En la guerra del Pacífico a la que te refieres, la mayoría de las muertes en Estados Unidos se produjeron por minas, malas condiciones meteorológicas, accidentes y enfermedades. Además, los japoneses perdieron más barcos a causa de las minas que en combate. Este es un patrón general en todos los conflictos armados.


Además de los accidentes y enfermedades mencionados en otras respuestas, hubo muchas muertes en combate fuera de las grandes batallas. Las "minas" eran una razón. Además, hubo muchas pequeñas acciones fuera de las grandes batallas. Los ejércitos realizaban "patrullas" y estallaban peleas entre pequeños grupos. Por lo general, habría mucho fuego de artillería (más, tal vez en la Primera Guerra Mundial que en la Segunda Guerra Mundial) entre batallas que matarían a los soldados. Los soldados morirían por "bombardeos" (y los aviadores por antiaéreos) entre batallas. Los soldados serían asesinados "en movimiento", se sabe que se derrumbaron y murieron en las filas, y hubo muertes relacionadas con vehículos "en la marcha". (Algunos se clasificarían como "accidentes", pero si se produjeran en el camino a la batalla, o peor aún, en la retirada, estarían relacionados con el "combate").

Las grandes batallas son cuando ocurrieron "la mayoría" de las muertes (en combate), no cuando ocurrieron todas. La lucha y la matanza no se detienen solo porque una batalla ha terminado; simplemente va de intensidad "alta" a intensidad "baja". Dicho de otra manera, la "guerra" se desarrolla los 365 días del año, mientras que las "batallas" pueden ocupar un múltiplo de diez días (para una unidad determinada). Esos días de batalla representan una minoría del tiempo de lucha, aunque se produce una cantidad desproporcionada de matanzas durante esos días.


Ataúd sobre ruedas: por qué el tanque Sherman era una trampa mortal total

El M-4 Sherman fue el caballo de batalla del carro medio del Ejército y la Infantería de Marina de los EE. UU. Durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Luchó en todos los escenarios de operaciones: África del Norte, el Pacífico y Europa.

El Sherman era conocido por su confiabilidad mecánica, debido a sus piezas estandarizadas y construcción de calidad en la línea de ensamblaje. Era espacioso, fácil de reparar y fácil de conducir. Debería haber sido el tanque ideal.

Pero el Sherman también fue una trampa mortal.

La mayoría de los tanques en ese momento funcionaban con diesel, un combustible más seguro y menos inflamable que la gasolina. El motor del Sherman era un motor de gasolina de 400 caballos de fuerza que, combinado con la munición a bordo, podía transformar el tanque en un infierno infernal después de recibir un impacto.

Todo lo que se necesitó fue un adversario alemán como el impresionante tanque Tiger con su cañón de 88 milímetros. Una bala podría atravesar la armadura comparativamente delgada del Sherman. Si tenían suerte, los cinco tripulantes del tanque podrían tener segundos para escapar antes de quemar vivos.

De ahí el sombrío apodo de Sherman: Ronson, como el encendedor de cigarrillos, porque "se enciende la primera vez, todas las veces".

En la nueva película Fury, un solo tanque Tiger devasta un pelotón de Sherman que avanza por Alemania. Gus Stavros, un veterano de la Segunda Guerra Mundial que presenció un combate real entre un Sherman y un Tigre en las afueras de la ciudad de Nennig, Alemania, dijo que la realidad de la batalla campal entre los dos tanques era igualmente aterradora.

"Si has visto películas en las que la gente sale del tanque en llamas, lo vi", dijo Stavros durante una entrevista en video para una historia oral de combate patrocinada por el National Endowment for the Humanities.

“El tanque alemán tenía un cañón de 88 [milímetros] y simplemente voló el tanque del General Sherman en pedazos hasta que no quedó nada más que humo y fuego”.

La pérdida tanto de hombres como de máquinas es difícil de comprender. En pocas palabras, en el fragor de la batalla era tan peligroso dentro de un tanque Sherman como fuera de uno.

“La 3.a División Blindada entró en combate en Normandía con 232 tanques M-4 Sherman”, escribe Belton Cooper, autor de Death Traps, un estudio de las divisiones blindadas estadounidenses y sus batallas en Europa durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial.

“Durante la Campaña Europea, la División destruyó por completo en combate unos 648 tanques Sherman y otros 700 fueron derribados, reparados y puestos nuevamente en funcionamiento. Esta fue una tasa de pérdida del 580 por ciento ".

Sin embargo, la fuerza del Sherman estaba en su número. Fue un ejemplo más de la destreza industrial de los Estados Unidos durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial, una época en la que los trabajadores de las fábricas y la producción de las fábricas hicieron tanto para ganar la guerra para los Aliados como los soldados, marineros y aviadores en la batalla.

Empresas que van desde Pullman Car Co. hasta Ford Motors fabricaron casi 50.000 Sherman, el segundo tanque más producido durante la guerra. Solo la Unión Soviética superó a los EE. UU. En la producción de tanques en ese momento al fabricar el legendario T-34.

En comparación, el Tiger, claramente el tanque superior en comparación con el Sherman, estaba hecho de materiales costosos, ensamblado laboriosamente y costoso de operar. Los alemanes fabricaron algo más de 1300 Tigres.

El Tiger superó al Sherman, pero Estados Unidos siempre tuvo otro Sherman para poner en el campo.

Si había otra tripulación de tanque entrenada para manejar el Sherman era más problemático. Pero a pesar de todos sus problemas, los soldados de infantería siempre estaban felices cuando llegaba un Sherman.

Los roles comunes incluían apoyo de infantería; a menudo, los soldados se apilaban en largas filas detrás de los Sherman a medida que los tanques avanzaban a través de campos abiertos, liderando el asalto y permitiendo que la armadura bloqueara las rondas disparadas por las ametralladoras MG-42 alemanas o el fuego de armas pequeñas de los soldados enemigos. .

El Sherman tenía una potencia de fuego decente. Aunque su cañón de 75 milímetros era menos potente que los cañones de tanques alemanes, aún podía disparar rondas de alto explosivo que nivelarían los edificios que albergan a las tropas alemanas.

Las armas adicionales incluyeron dos ametralladoras M1919 Browning calibre .30 y una Browning M2 calibre .50 en una torreta coaxial. Ambas armas podrían derribar a la infantería alemana o destruir nidos de ametralladoras.

En el Pacífico, los marines desplegaron Sherman equipados con lanzallamas para destruir las posiciones defensivas japonesas. En los últimos meses de la guerra, cuando los soldados japoneses acérrimos rara vez se rindieron, los bombardeos de pastilleros a menudo no detuvieron el fuego fulminante dirigido a las tropas estadounidenses.

Los Sherman, modificados para hacer fluir napalm a través de la boca de sus armas, atacaron las fortalezas japonesas con chorros de fuego dirigidos a los puertos de las armas enemigas.

A pesar de sus muchas debilidades, el tanque Sherman se convirtió en un pilar de las fuerzas armadas y militares de Estados Unidos en todo el mundo.

El tanque Sherman permaneció en servicio tanto con el Ejército como con la Infantería de Marina después de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, y estuvo en acción durante la Guerra de Corea. Incluso después de que Estados Unidos reemplazara al Sherman con el tanque de batalla principal M48 Patton durante la década de 1950, el Sherman sirvió con aliados estadounidenses hasta la década de 1970.

Los "Super Sherman" fuertemente modificados incluso entraron en combate con las Fuerzas de Defensa de Israel durante la Guerra de los Seis Días en 1967 y la Guerra de Yom Kippur en 1973.

Este artículo de Paul Richard Huard apareció originalmente en War is Boring en 2014.


1 batallas más sangrientas

La batalla de Gettysburg, considerada la más importante de la guerra, fue de lejos la más sangrienta y costó a la nación aproximadamente 51.000 vidas. La batalla fue una tremenda derrota para la Confederación, que estaba convencida de la victoria. El Ejército de la Unión todavía sufrió tremendas pérdidas en la batalla, con bajas cercanas a las 23.000.

Otras batallas sangrientas incluyeron la Batalla de Chickamauga, que tuvo lugar en el sureste de Tennessee y tuvo un saldo de 34.624 muertos, y la Batalla de Spotsylvania, que se cobró 30.000 vidas. Gran parte del asombroso número de muertos en el campo de batalla podría atribuirse al hecho de que la tecnología militar más nueva, es decir, armas más letales, se combinaron con un estilo táctico militar más antiguo, produciendo un número sin precedentes de bajas. Aunque el sur tenía un reclutamiento casi completo y finalmente perdió menos vidas en el transcurso de la guerra, los soldados del norte los superaron en número y finalmente se vieron obligados a rendirse, poniendo fin a la guerra.


6 razones por las que la batalla de Iwo Jima es tan importante para los marines

Ningún relato histórico de la Segunda Guerra Mundial estaría completo sin cubrir la Batalla de Iwo Jima.

A primera vista, parece similar a muchas otras batallas que ocurrieron al final de la Guerra del Pacífico: las tropas estadounidenses se abrieron paso ferozmente a través de trampas explosivas, cargas Banzai y ataques sorpresa mientras los incondicionales defensores japoneses luchaban contra el abrumador poder estadounidense en el aire, por tierra y por mar.

Para el Cuerpo de Marines de los Estados Unidos, sin embargo, la Batalla de Iwo Jima fue más de una isla más en una serie de batallas en una campaña de isla en isla. La Guerra del Pacífico fue una de las más brutales en la historia de la humanidad, y en ningún lugar fue más evidente que en Iwo Jima en febrero de 1945.

Después de tres años de lucha, las tropas estadounidenses no sabían que el fin del Imperio japonés estaba cerca. Para ellos, cada isla era parte de la preparación que necesitaban para invadir Japón continental.

La lucha de 36 días por Iwo Jima llevó al almirante Chester Nimitz a dar el elogio ahora inmortal: "El valor poco común era una virtud común".

Aquí hay seis razones por las que la batalla es tan importante para los marines:

1. Fue la primera invasión de las islas de origen japonesas.

El Imperio Japonés controlaba muchas islas en el área del Pacífico. Saipan, Peleliu y otras islas fueron vendidas a Japón después de la Primera Guerra Mundial o la Liga de Naciones les dio el control de ellas. Luego, comenzó a invadir a otros.

Iwo Jima era diferente. Aunque técnicamente está lejos de las islas de origen japonesas, se considera parte de Tokio y se administra como parte de su subprefectura.

Después de tres años de tomar el control de islas previamente capturadas por los japoneses, los marines finalmente tomaron parte de la capital japonesa.

2. Iwo Jima era estratégicamente necesario para el esfuerzo bélico de Estados Unidos.

Tomar la isla significó más que una captura simbólica de la patria japonesa. Significaba que Estados Unidos podía lanzar bombardeos desde los aeródromos estratégicos de Iwo Jima, ya que la pequeña isla estaba directamente debajo de la trayectoria de vuelo de las Superfortalezas B-29 de Guam, Saipán y las Islas Marianas.

Ahora, las Fuerzas Aéreas del Ejército podrían realizar bombardeos sin una guarnición japonesa en Iwo Jima que advirtiera al continente sobre el peligro que se avecinaba. También significaba que los bombarderos estadounidenses podían sobrevolar Japón con escoltas de combate.

3. Fue una de las batallas más sangrientas de la historia de la Infantería de Marina.

Iwo Jima es una isla pequeña, que cubre aproximadamente ocho millas cuadradas. Fue defendida por 20.000 soldados japoneses que pasaron un año cavando, creando kilómetros de túneles debajo de la roca volcánica, y que estaban listos para luchar hasta el último hombre.

Cuando terminó la batalla, 6.800 estadounidenses murieron y otros 26.000 resultaron heridos o desaparecidos. Esto significa que 850 estadounidenses murieron por cada milla cuadrada de la fortaleza de la isla. Solo 216 soldados japoneses fueron hechos prisioneros.

4. Se exhibió más valentía en Iwo Jima que en cualquier otra batalla anterior o posterior.

Iwo Jima vio más medallas de honor otorgadas por acciones allí que cualquier otra batalla en la historia de Estados Unidos. Se otorgaron un total de 27, 22 a infantes de marina y cinco a miembros del cuerpo de la Armada. En toda la Segunda Guerra Mundial, solo 81 infantes de marina y 57 marineros recibieron la medalla.

Para ponerlo en una perspectiva estadística, el 20% de todas las Medallas de Honor de la Armada y el Cuerpo de Marines de la Segunda Guerra Mundial se obtuvieron en Iwo Jima.

5. Los marines estadounidenses eran marines y nada más en Iwo Jima.

Estados Unidos ha visto problemas importantes con las relaciones raciales en su historia. Y aunque las fuerzas armadas no se integraron completamente hasta 1948, el ejército de los Estados Unidos siempre ha estado a la vanguardia de la integración racial y de género. Los marines de Iwo Jima procedían de todos los orígenes.

Si bien los afroamericanos todavía no podían estar en primera línea debido a la segregación, pilotearon camiones anfibios llenos de marines blancos y latinos a las playas de Iwo Jima, trasladaron municiones y suministros al frente, enterraron a los muertos y combatieron los ataques sorpresa de los defensores japoneses. . Los Navajo Code Talkers fueron fundamentales para tomar la isla. Todos eran marines.

6. El icónico izamiento de la bandera se convirtió en el símbolo de todos los marines que murieron en servicio.

La foto del fotógrafo de Associated Press Joe Rosenthal de los marines levantando la bandera en el monte Suribachi de Iwo Jima es quizás una de las fotos de guerra más conocidas jamás tomadas. Izar la bandera estadounidense en el punto más alto de la isla envió un mensaje claro tanto a los marines de abajo como a los defensores japoneses. En los años que siguieron, la imagen adquirió un papel más importante.

Pronto se convirtió en el símbolo de la propia Infantería de Marina. Cuando se dedicó el Marine Corps Memorial en 1954, fue esa imagen la que se convirtió en el símbolo del espíritu del Corps, dedicada a cada infante de marina que dio su vida al servicio de los Estados Unidos.


7 asesinatos importantes de la mafia [Advertencia: fotos horripilantes]

Siegel, en un esfuerzo por reinventarse y legitimarse, se había mudado a Las Vegas para supervisar la construcción del complejo Flamingo. Fracasó miserablemente en el trabajo y luego fue asesinado pocos meses después de que el casino casi quebrara. Mientras leía el Los Angeles Times, Siegel recibió varios disparos a través de una ventana por una carabina militar M1 calibre .30. El crimen está sin resolver, pero su fracaso en Las Vegas me hace sospechar. Un monumento a Bugsy todavía se encuentra en el Hotel Flamingo cerca de la capilla de bodas.

2. Masacre del día de San Valentín

Asesinado: Peter Gusenberg, Frank Gusenberg, Albert Kachellek, Adam Heyer, Reinhart Schwimmer, Albert Weinshank, John May

Comprometido por varias razones, (incluido el intento de paralizar a la pandilla del lado norte y en represalia por Bugs Moran, líder de la pandilla del lado norte, "entrando" en la pista de perros de Al Capone en los suburbios de Chicago) la Masacre del Día de San Valentín fue el peor golpe de la mafia jamás visto en los EE. UU. Logró obstaculizar a la banda del lado norte, pero también le hizo la vida mucho más difícil a Capone. Bugs Moran escapó del golpe porque uno de los vigías confundió a uno de los hombres de Moran con Moran. Cuatro hombres llevaron a cabo la masacre, dos vestidos con gabardinas, dos con uniformes policiales. Algunos dicen que Moran huyó cuando vio a la policía entrar en el edificio, perdonándole la vida.

3. "Ametralladora" Jack McGurn

Asesinado: "Machine Gun" Jack McGurn (nacido como Vincenzo Antonio Gibaldi)

McGurn fue abatido a tiros, mientras jugaba a los bolos, por tres hombres con ametralladoras. Se desconoce la identidad de los sicarios y el motivo. Sin embargo, dos teorías son ampliamente aceptadas: 1) Venganza por la supuesta participación de McGurns en la masacre del Día de San Valentín. 2) Silenciar al bebedor empedernido y fanfarrón McGurn por parte de la pandilla de South Side. Curiosamente, se encontró un poema en su mano derecha y una moneda de cinco centavos en la izquierda. (Se sabía que McGurn ponía monedas de cinco centavos en las manos de su víctima)

4. Albert "El Sombrerero Loco" Anastasia

Asesinado: Albert "El Sombrerero Loco" Anastasia (nacido Umberto Anastasio)

El brutal y violento jefe de la mafia de la familia Mangano / Gambino fue derribado mientras estaba en su silla de barbero. Su guardaespaldas había dado un paseo convenientemente cuando dos hombres armados enmascarados irrumpieron en la tienda y abrieron fuego contra Anastasia. Continuaron disparando hasta que cayó muerto al suelo y luego le dispararon a quemarropa en la nuca. Se cree que Larry y Joe Gallo llevaron a cabo el asesinato bajo un contrato de Don Vito Genovese. La esposa de Anastasia mantuvo su inocencia de cualquier participación o violencia de la mafia y quería que lo recordaran como un esposo y padre amoroso y devoto, que asistía a la iglesia. Sí claro.

5. Carmine "Cigar / Lilo" Galante

Asesinado: Carmine "Cigar / Lilo" Galante, Leonard Coppola, Guiseppe Turano

Galante estaba almorzando en el restaurante Joe and Mary's cuando entraron tres hombres y comenzaron a disparar. Cesare Bonventre, uno de los reclutas de la mafia de Galante, no hizo nada para detener el asesinato y salió del restaurante con calma. “Cigar” había creado el negocio del narcotráfico moderno y comenzó a retener cada vez más dinero de la droga de sus jefes. Galente había pedido recientemente a la comisión gobernante de la mafia si podía retirarse. Su solicitud fue concedida, pero luego se supo que tenía 30 “greenies” (nuevos reclutas del viejo país) trabajando para él. Se dice que la comisión de la mafia se reunió nuevamente y decidió que era hora de que Galante se retirara definitivamente. El legado del tráfico de drogas y el crimen asociado dejó a Bushwick, Brooklyn en ruinas durante décadas después de su asesinato.

6. Paul “Big Paul” Castellano

Asesinado: Paul "Big Paul" Castellano (nacido como Constantino Paul Castellano), Tommy Bilotti

Big Paul se había puesto celoso del tráfico de drogas de John Gotti y amenazó con matar a cualquiera involucrado con narcóticos. También había adquirido enemigos cuando no asistió al funeral de Aneillo "Neil" Dellacroce, uno de sus subjefes, y luego nombró a Tommy Bilotti, un guardaespaldas, como nuevo subjefe a pesar de la falta de habilidades de Bilotti para el trabajo. Castellano y Bilottie fueron asesinados a tiros fuera de un restaurante de carnes por orden de John Gotti. Los hombres habían sido atraídos allí con la promesa de tener una charla con Gotti para "arreglar las cosas".

7. Angelo "The Gentle Don" Bruno

Asesinado: Angelo "The Gentle Don" Bruno (nacido como Angelo Annaloro)

Angelo Bruno murió de un solo disparo en la nuca mientras estaba sentado en su automóvil. Había desarrollado muchos enemigos al sacar provecho del mercado de la heroína en Filadelfia, mientras que a otras familias se les prohibía la distribución de narcóticos. Antonio Caponigro (alias Tony Bananas) ordenó el asesinato, pero él mismo fue asesinado solo unas semanas después en represalia. Se encontraron billetes de un dólar metidos en su boca y (tápese los ojos) en el ano, para simbolizar la codicia. La familia Filadelfia entró en decadencia después de la muerte de Bruno.


Segunda Guerra Mundial: Entrevista con el Mayor Richard M. Gordon & # 8212 Superviviente de la Marcha de la Muerte de Bataan

A las 12:30 p.m. el 9 de abril de 1942, el general de brigada Edward King, comandante en jefe en Bataan, Filipinas, se rindió a los japoneses. Luego, los victoriosos japoneses obligaron a más de 10,000 estadounidenses y 65,000 filipinos sobrevivientes de la guarnición de Bataan a marchar 100 kilómetros en un calor abrasador desde Mariveles a San Fernando. Ya cansados ​​por meses de lucha, los filipinos y los estadounidenses también padecían malaria, hambre y sed. Aquellos que cayeron en el camino fueron golpeados y apaleados & # 8211 a menudo hasta la muerte & # 8211 por sus captores. De seiscientos a 650 estadounidenses y de 5.000 a 10.000 filipinos murieron en la caminata.

En San Fernando, los supervivientes estaban apiñados en sofocantes vagones de ferrocarril sellados, en los que murieron muchos más. Cuando los hombres llegaron cuatro horas después a Capas, provincia de Tarlac, se vieron obligados a desembarcar y comenzar una caminata de 10 kilómetros hasta el campamento O & # 8217Donnell. Durante los primeros 40 días en prisión, alrededor de 1.570 estadounidenses murieron por desnutrición, enfermedades y golpizas. Más de 25.000 filipinos murieron en unos cuatro meses, hasta que los japoneses comenzaron a conceder la libertad condicional al personal del ejército filipino en julio de 1942. Pero los exploradores filipinos, que formaban parte del ejército de los Estados Unidos, se mantuvieron en cautiverio.

El 6 de junio de 1942, los supervivientes estadounidenses del campo O & # 8217Donnell & # 8211, excepto unos 500, que fueron detenidos principalmente para los detalles del entierro & # 8211, se trasladaron una vez más al campo Cabanatuan. Alrededor de 3.000 estadounidenses más morirían allí, principalmente por los efectos persistentes de los combates en Bataan, la Marcha de la Muerte y el Campamento O & # 8217Donnell.

El Mayor Richard M. Gordon, Ejército de los Estados Unidos (retirado), fue un defensor de Bataan y es un sobreviviente de la Marcha de la Muerte, Camp O & # 8217Donnell, Camp Cabanatuan y tres años & # 8217 cautiverio en Mitsushima, Japón. Como fundador de un grupo conocido como & # 8216Battling Bastards of Bataan & # 8217, & # 8217 cuyo lema es & # 8216 In Pursuit of Truth & # 8217, Gordon ha trabajado duro para disipar algunos de los mitos que rodean la infame Marcha de la Muerte.

& # 8216Actualmente viven menos de 1.000 supervivientes de Bataan & # 8217, dijo. & # 8216 En quizás 10 años, todos se habrán ido. A la mayoría, si no a todos, les gustaría dejar atrás la verdad de que era Bataan. Hacer menos deshonraría a los hombres que murieron en Bataan, en el campo O & # 8217Donnell y Cabanatuan, a bordo de los barcos del infierno que los llevarían a Japón y Manchuria, y en los campos de prisioneros de todos esos países. & # 8217

En una entrevista con John P. Cervone, el Mayor Gordon recordó esos terribles eventos.

Historia militar: ¿Cómo llegaste a estar en Bataan?

Gordon: Me uní al Ejército Regular el 5 de agosto de 1940. Cuando me alisté, solicité el 31º Regimiento de Infantería de los Estados Unidos en Manila. Primero me enviaron a Fort Slocum, Nueva York, donde recibimos una formación introductoria. Permanecí allí hasta el 7 de septiembre de 1940. En ese momento, Fort Slocum era un área de preparación para quienes realizaban asignaciones en el extranjero, incluidos Panamá, Puerto Rico, Hawai y Filipinas. Desde Fort Slocum, nuestra unidad fue llevada en un remolcador por el río Hudson hasta la base del ejército de Brooklyn, donde abordamos el transporte del ejército de los EE. UU. Conceder el 14 de septiembre con destino a Filipinas. El viaje, contando con una escala de una semana en Fort McDowell en San Francisco, tomó 48 días.

MH: ¿Qué hiciste al llegar?

Gordon: Recibí formación básica en Manila. Me asignaron a la Compañía F y vivía en el Cuartel del Estado Mayor, anteriormente el hogar de la caballería del ejército español cuando ocuparon Filipinas en 1898. En ese momento, me pagaban $ 21 por mes, con un aumento a $ 30 después de cuatro meses.

MH: ¿Cómo fue estar destinado allí?

Gordon: ¡Estar en Filipinas antes de la guerra fue genial! Vivíamos de forma muy parecida a los soldados británicos en la India. Debido al calor, solo entrenamos hasta el mediodía, excepto cuando estábamos en el campo para el entrenamiento en la jungla. La puntería con rifle era un período de dos semanas, una vez al año. La falta de fondos prohibió nuevos despidos. Esta fue nuestra rutina durante 15 meses antes de que estallara la guerra.

MH: ¿Cuál fue la reacción general cuando comenzó la guerra el 7 de diciembre de 1941?

Gordon: Sabíamos que la guerra llegaría a Filipinas meses antes de que sucediera, así que no fue una sorpresa. Como estadounidenses, nos sentimos imbatibles y pensamos que la escaramuza duraría poco. Miramos al soldado japonés con desprecio & # 8211 claramente un error.

MH: ¿Qué hizo tu atuendo en esos primeros días de la invasión?

Gordon: El 10 de diciembre de 1941, mi unidad se trasladó al campo desde nuestro puesto en tiempo de paz en Fort William McKinley. Nos trasladamos hacia el norte con la Fuerza de Luzón del Norte, luego comandada por el Mayor General Jonathan M. Wainwright, actuando como fuerza de seguridad para su cuartel general y su personal. En dos semanas, nuestra unidad se había dividido en puestos de mando [CP] de avanzada y de retaguardia. Me asignaron a la delantera CP. Nuestro pelotón, bajo el mando del teniente Henry G. Lee (un destacado poeta de la época), actuó como una línea de escaramuza para enfrentarse a los infiltrados japoneses.

MH: ¿Cuándo te mudaste a Bataan?

Gordon: Nos mudamos a la península de Bataan en la víspera de Año Nuevo y # 8217. La batalla por Bataan comenzó oficialmente el 2 de enero de 1942. Después de que asumimos nuestra primera línea de defensa principal, la línea PilarBagac, nos mantuvimos firmes durante casi dos meses. Los japoneses fueron derrotados tratando de romper esta línea, y las cosas se calmaron hasta que llegaron sus reemplazos. Fue durante este período que Brig. El general Maxon S. Lough de Palo Alto, California, asumió el mando de la División de Filipinas, de la cual la 31ª formaba parte. También se pusieron en marcha eventos que prepararían el escenario para los próximos años. Estados Unidos no pudo decidir si luchar o evacuar Filipinas. En diciembre de 1941 se le preguntó al secretario de Guerra Henry Stimson sobre los planes para Bataan y respondió: "Hay momentos en que los hombres deben morir". A principios de enero, nuestras raciones se redujeron a la mitad y en febrero se redujeron a la mitad nuevamente. En marzo, estábamos viviendo con 1.000 calorías al día, comiendo salmón y arroz. La quinina, utilizada para prevenir la malaria, desapareció el 1 de marzo y la disentería se estaba extendiendo. Gran parte de nuestra munición era de la Primera Guerra Mundial. De 10 granadas, tres podrían detonar. Teníamos morteros, pero no municiones para ellos.

MH: ¿Cuándo se reanudó en serio la ofensiva japonesa?

Gordon: La presión enemiga comenzó a aumentar nuevamente en marzo de 1942, con la llegada de reemplazos. Nuestro PC de división comenzó a retroceder de forma regular y rara vez mantuvimos un área durante mucho tiempo. El general Lough nunca creyó en dejar su puesto de mando antes de lo necesario. Como resultado, cada noche teníamos que establecer nuevas posiciones defensivas alrededor del PC. Durante esas últimas noches en Bataan, a menudo escuchamos a los japoneses tratando de infiltrarse en nuestras líneas. Una mañana, el general Lough entraba en su coche de estado mayor justo cuando una unidad de japoneses doblaba una curva en la carretera. Los redujimos la velocidad hasta que estuvo a salvo.

MH: ¿Cuánto tiempo pudiste aguantar la línea?

Gordon: Permanecimos allí & # 8211 en varias líneas de resistencia diferentes & # 8211 hasta el avance japonés final el 3 de abril de 1942.

MH: ¿Cómo te sentiste con la rendición?

Gordon: Fui capturado & # 8211No me rendí. La mayoría de mis compañeros soldados sintieron, como yo, que no podíamos perder. Creíamos que era solo una cuestión de cuándo llegarían los refuerzos prometidos. Nos mintieron, pero Washington, no el general Douglas MacArthur. Nunca supimos que la derrota era inminente hasta que nuestro comandante general nos dijo que se había rendido. En ese momento, nadie le creyó, y cuando se enteraron de que era cierto, muchos lloraron. Sentimos que de hecho habíamos sido & # 8216 prescindibles & # 8217. Durante una sesión posterior en el campo de prisioneros celebrada por nuestro CO de la guarnición de Bataan, el general de división Edward P. King, Jr., antes de que lo enviaran a Mukden, Manchuria, dijo Nos habían pedido que hiciéramos un toque para ganar tiempo. La metáfora del béisbol fue probablemente la mejor manera de explicar por qué estábamos allí en primer lugar.

MH: ¿Cómo fuiste hecho prisionero?

Gordon: El general Lough nos dio la noticia de la rendición de nuestra unidad. Después de escuchar esto, acampamos en posiciones de combate en el monte Bataan, conocido en ese momento como Signal Hill. Un pequeño grupo de nosotros subimos más a la montaña, en un esfuerzo por evitar la rendición. Pasaron varios días sin rastro del enemigo. Hambrientos y necesitados de provisiones, Co

rporal Elmer Parks (de Oklahoma) y yo nos ofrecimos como voluntarios para conducir colina abajo hasta nuestra última posición en busca de suministros. Elmer conducía y yo montaba una escopeta en una camioneta Dodge. Recogimos varios rifles Garand M1 en nuestra posición anterior, dejados por los japoneses, que no querían usarlos. Al cargar los rifles a bordo del camión, decidimos ir un poco más lejos por la carretera hasta donde habían estado otras unidades. Conduciendo por la carretera de la montaña, nos encontramos con un enorme árbol de higuera filipino, tan grande que servía como divisor de carreteras. Cuando nos acercábamos al árbol, un soldado japonés solitario que sostenía un rifle salió de detrás. Elmer detuvo el camión y nos miramos fijamente, preguntándonos qué hacer a continuación. La idea de intentar correr se nos ocurrió a los dos, al igual que la idea de recoger uno de los Garand M1 recién adquiridos. Pero ninguno de los dos hizo nada más que mirar al soldado japonés. Finalmente, nos indicó que saliéramos del camión. En ese momento, 10 o 15 japoneses más salieron de la maleza que bordeaba la carretera. Seguramente nos tuvieron en la mira todo el tiempo y probablemente hubieran disfrutado disparándonos más que capturarnos y aumentar su carga. Se trataba de tropas de primera línea que recorrían la zona en busca de resistencia enemiga. Una vez que salimos del camión, se turnaron para golpearnos con las culatas de sus rifles. Nos registraron y se llevaron todos los objetos de valor que teníamos, como relojes de pulsera, encendedores de cigarrillos y carteras. De camino a la montaña, vi a nuestro comandante de batallón, el mayor James Ivy, desnudo de cintura para arriba y muerto, con innumerables agujeros de bayoneta en la espalda. Fue entonces cuando Elmer y yo supimos que estábamos en problemas.

MH: ¿Cómo fue que los japoneses nos hicieran retroceder?

Gordon: Caminando por esa montaña, pasamos por cadáveres estadounidenses y filipinos a lo largo de la carretera. El hedor era casi insoportable. Finalmente, cuando oscurecía, llegamos al lugar donde la carretera de montaña se nivelaba en la carretera oeste de Bataan. Nuestros captores nos entregaron a otro grupo de soldados. Incapaces de vernos bien en la oscuridad, nos palparon los hombros y nos empujaron a través de una abertura en el arbusto que bordeaba la carretera. Más tarde descubrimos que la inspección de hombros y cuello fue para determinar si el prisionero era un oficial. Si lo estaba, lo patearon a través de la misma abertura en lugar de ser empujado. Esa noche fue tan oscura y confusa que inmediatamente perdí el contacto con Elmer. Supuse que había muerto. Nunca lo volví a ver hasta una reunión 47 años después en Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

MH: ¿Qué pasó durante tu primera noche en cautiverio?

Gordon: Esa noche en el campamento nos registraron y golpearon en la cabeza varias veces. Había tantos hombres apiñados en ese campo que encontrar un lugar para acostarse era casi imposible. Finalmente encontré un lugar cerca de una & # 8216field letrine & # 8217 & # 8211 en realidad, solo una zanja abierta. Durante toda la noche, un torrente de soldados enfermos se abrió camino hacia esa trinchera una y otra vez.

MH: ¿Puede describir la marcha de Bataan?

Gordon: Al día siguiente, probablemente el 11 o el 12 de abril, comencé a marchar fuera de Bataan. No conocía a ninguno de mis compañeros soldados, ni estadounidense ni filipino. Nuestro primer día de marcha y # 8217s nos llevó por el infame Zig Zag Trail, que pareció durar millas y millas hasta que se niveló en un terreno llano. Sin embargo, era la primera etapa de la marcha y estábamos en mucho mejor forma de lo que estaríamos en cuatro o cinco días. Cualquiera capturado al norte de Mariveles tuvo la suerte de perderse esta tortuosa etapa de la marcha. Cientos de cuerpos estaban esparcidos a lo largo del costado del sendero, hombres que no podían hacer la empinada subida. Durante esa subida, vi a una vieja amiga mía, la sargento Florence Hardesty. Me había enseñado a conducir una motocicleta poco antes de la guerra. Hardesty me recordó al Lincoln Memorial en Washington, DC, sentado, muerto, contra una especie de pared. Estaba completamente cubierto por el polvo blanco que cubría los árboles, el camino y los manifestantes. Casi me derrumbo y lloro. Hardesty era un viejo soldado y yo pensaba en él como una figura paterna. He llevado su imagen conmigo desde la primera vez que lo vi.

MH: ¿Qué pasó una vez que llegaste al final del Zig Zag Trail?

Gordon: We were momentarily elated when we reached the top of that climb–we actually felt we had the worst behind us. Walking became much easier. But depression soon set in when we discovered there was no food or water to be had. Some attempted escape on that second day others continued to fall, unable to keep up. These soldiers were shot, beheaded or bayoneted and left to die on the side of the road. Each night we were placed in a field and allowed to fend for ourselves. We expected water, if not food, but received neither. When dawn broke and we were put back on the road, a number of bodies were always left behind littering our sleeping field. In some ways, they were the lucky ones. Their miseries were over. For the rest of us our agonies had just begun.

MH: Is that the way the rest of the march went?

Gordon: Days went by with no change in the routine established by the Japanese. We would stop in an open field and be forced to take off our hats during the hottest part of the day while the Japanese had their lunch–ostensibly to assure that we did not hide contraband under them, but also a deliberate act to cause us more hardship. We were required to sit there for an hour or more. Those caught with Japanese money, diaries, photos or anything taken from dead Japanese soldiers–despite the warning to dispose of such items–were usually executed on the spot. Fortunately, I had absolutely nothing of value left, although those with nothing were often cuffed about the ears as punishment. On the third day we were marched backward and stopped alongside the road in daylight, in plain sight of Corregidor and the American guns. The guns of Corregidor opened up on the Japanese artillery positions alongside the road. We were being used as human shields. I saw a direct hit on a Japanese 105mm gun–it went up in the air like a toy. Score one for Corregidor! A number of prisoners were hit by the American gunfire, including me. I received a gash across my left leg, which surprisingly did not bleed that much. I covered it with my handkerchief, my last personal object.

MH: Where did you go from there?

Gordon: Days seemed to run together, and I lost track of time. Looking around during those first few days, I saw officers carrying duffel bags to hold their personal possessions. One lieutenant, named Olsen, walked by in his most prized possession, his riding boots. A day or so later, I passed Olsen’s duffel bag, with his name stenciled on it, on the side of road. The next day I passed his boots, which nobody seemed to want. Finally, on the third day I passed Olsen, dead on the side of the road. I was amazed that some officers tried to take things with them, adding to their burden of walking in the extreme heat and humidity. These items invariably led to their deaths.

MH: When did you reach a town or village?

Gordon: I don’t remember what day I arrived in Lubao. In that small town there was a sheet-metal warehouse about the size of a football field. Many prisoners were pushed inside the warehouse to sleep that night until there was room for no more. Unfortunately, I was among that group. There were so many men inside that place that sitting down, let alone lying down, was impossible. The heat beating down on that tin had sent the temperature soaring to 120 degrees and then some. Men stood all night, shoulder to shoulder, among the groans of the sick and dying. The next day dozens of men were carried out dead and left along the road as we began another day of the march. Everyone was dehydrated, with no chance to replenish the lost water.

MH: Where did you stop next?

Gordon: Within a day or two, I found myself in the town of San Fernando, a railroad junction in Pampanga province. Here again I had to sleep in the schoolhouse, with conditions almost equaling those in Lubao, but we were promised food the following morning. When morning came we were moved out, again without food or water, and put aboard the boxcars that would take us to Capas and Camp O’Donnell, our next destination.

MH: How did you survive?

Gordon: Words cannot really describe those days or the thousands of individual horrors. Suffice it to say, I went nine days without food and with very little water. My training as an infantryman paid off. I conserved water in my canteen by taking a sip, swishing it around in my mouth and letting a little drip down my throat. I would do this until I reached the next potable water spot. Others, untrained and dying for water, would prostrate themselves along the side of the road and drink water from puddles. All this water was contaminated with flies and fly feces and brought on death from dysentery. Thousands of Filipinos and several hundred Americans died this way. The Japanese beat any who attempted to break ranks and obtain water, killing a number of them in the process. Japanese tanks, moving south to take up positions to attack Corregidor as we marched north, would deliberately drive over the dead and dying on the side of the road.

MH: Did you and your colleagues try to help one another get through the march?

Gordon: No. There was a complete lack of assistance on the part of our fellow Americans. I did not witness a single act of kindness. The desire to survive overcame any idea of helping one another. I was a stretcher-bearer for a wounded officer, having volunteered to do so–out of sense of duty and responsibility. After one complete day of carrying the man, we could not get another four volunteers to relieve us, despite what amounted to begging on our part. That night, when compelled to stop, we left the officer to himself. He was later seen by a friend begging for help along the way. Even fellow officers who had originally carried him deserted him. I believe a lack of discipline led to this horrific situation. Most of our American soldiers had recently arrived in the Philippines, and very few had the discipline necessary for this.

MH: What was it like after you had completed the march?

Gordon: The train ride to Capas was another horrific experience, as men were jammed into each boxcar and the doors closed tightly. Men died standing up. One of our guards did open the door to let a little air in during the slow ride. Filipinos attempted to throw food into the car when it slowed down. Those standing in the doorway caught the food and ate all they could catch–nothing was passed back to anyone. Another instance of every man for himself. Arriving in Capas, we unloaded seven dead men from my car and proceeded to march another 10 kilometers to Camp O’Donnell.

MH: After having survived the Death March, how did you end up in Japan?

Gordon: Our first extended stop was in Camp O’Donnell, and it was there that I almost died from malaria. A buddy of mine, Fred Pavia of New Jersey, stole some quinine and saved my life, only to succumb to malaria and die himself three weeks later. My next ‘home’ was Camp Cabanatuan, where I was placed on the grave-digging detail. The guards at Cabanatuan placed the head of a soldier who attempted to escape on a 20-foot pole, which they marched down the center of the camp as a warning. Soon after this grim reminder, we prisoners were placed in groups of 10. If one man escaped, the remaining nine in his group were shot. My malaria returned at Cabanatuan, and I became so ill that an American doctor recommended I volunteer for a work party going to Japan. On his recommendation, I was moved to Bilibid Civil Prison in Manila on October 31, 1942, awaiting shipment to Japan. Housed in this prison was a complete dental unit that had been captured on Corregidor. Imagine, Army and Navy dentists, with all their equipment–including dental chairs–and clean starched uniforms! For a while we actually imagined we were back home in a dental clinic. Prisoners being moved to Japan were offered the chance to have their teeth checked. For me that meant a half-hour in a chair while two teeth were pulled and one was filled. In my three years in Japan, I never had a toothache.

MH: What was the voyage to Japan like?

Gordon: My ship, Nagato Maru, sailed on November 7, 1942. I was three decks below, in the pitch-black hold of the ship. For 20 days we suffered with no toilet facilities, save for five-gallon buckets that they would pass down to us every four or five hours. We were given rice and fish for the first few days and then just rice. Water was passed down in five-gallon drums once a day. Thirteen men died during that voyage. Just outside Manila we were attacked by a submarine. The Japanese took the few life preservers left in the hold and put them on

boxes containing the ashes of their own dead. We survived the attack, but by this time many were hoping a torpedo would have hit us.

MH: What awaited you in Japan?

Gordon: My new home was Mitsushima, a village in the town of Hiraoka, where I would spend the next three years–three years of misery, freezing every winter. We had no heat and scarce rations. We were employed as slave laborers, building a hydroelectric power dam, which is still in use today. Eventually, I was placed in charge of a 40-man work detail for a civilian contractor handling cement for the dam and was held responsible in every way for their actions. On one occasion a number of the men refused to do some extra work. We were all taken into the camp and forced to stand at attention until the main body of the prisoners returned. Then we were beaten in front of the inmates. I was placed in solitary confinement for three days and two nights because of my men’s refusal to work.

MH: Can you describe your feelings when you were released?

Gordon: I was returned to American military control on September 4, 1945, after more than 3 1/2 years of captivity. We were taken to Arai, a town on the Japanese coast. There we were met by U.S. Navy personnel wearing strange-looking helmets and carrying strange-looking weapons, which turned out to be M1 carbines. Placed in landing ships, we saw the American flag for the first time in more than three years. It was at that moment that I realized how much my country meant to me. We had placed our faith in our country, and our country had kept that faith by bringing us home. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the boat after seeing the Stars and Stripes. From that moment on, I was on a high and did not come down for a year.

MH: Corregidor has sometimes been associated with the Bataan Death March, but you have said that that is not true. ¿Cómo es eso?

Gordon: In 1982, a joint resolution of Congress honored the men of Bataan and Corregidor who made the Death March, but Congress was unaware that Corregidor had not surrendered until May 6, by which time the Death March was over. Nobody in its garrison participated in that march. For the past 40-odd years, many have assumed Bataan, Corregidor and the Death March to be interrelated. In fact, Corregidor had no connection with the Death March whatsoever.

MH: Any final comments on your experience?

Gordon: No one knows what freedom means until one loses it. Most Americans take it for granted, forgetting that thousands and thousands of their fellow Americans died to give them that freedom. We in Bataan paid our price for our country’s freedom, and most of us would do it all over again if we had to. Many returned sick and died shortly after the war. Many, even today, are seeking something from their country to ‘pay’ for their suffering. They, too, have forgotten that freedom is not free. For my part, I was a Regular Army soldier. I enlisted. I asked for the Philippines. Everything that happened was of my doing. I have no regrets, and my country does not owe me anything.


WW2 casualties in today's perspective

Why were both the axis and allies OK with suffering losses in the tens of millions?

Could you even imagine if today 500,000 American soldiers died over a couple years? What about 5-10 million? What about if Japan started killing 10,000 Chinese evey day?

After a few thousand losses, we'd be like "Dude , wtf? We surrender. this is insane." And with good reason.

Why the hell didn't Germany figure, we'll. we tried boys. wasn't meant to be, before they lost 6 million people?

Why were both the axis and allies OK with suffering losses in the tens of millions?

Could you even imagine if today 500,000 American soldiers died over a couple years? What about 5-10 million? What about if Japan started killing 10,000 Chinese evey day?

After a few thousand losses, we'd be like "Dude , wtf? We surrender. this is insane." And with good reason.

WWI Alone killed something in the high 10 million people (I don't know the exact number)

WWII was much higher, over 60 million I think.

Whatever the amount is too much. It's not that the Axis and allies were ok with it. It was and it is the nature of war: Good and bad people end up dead. Victory was measured by the amount of pain you were able to inflict (both infrastructure and human life) Tragic, people's lives treated no better than pawns on a giant chess table.

So much for being an "intelligent, civilized" species huh?

doctorj wrote:

Why were both the axis and allies OK with suffering losses in the tens of millions?

Could you even imagine if today 500,000 American soldiers died over a couple years? What about 5-10 million? What about if Japan started killing 10,000 Chinese evey day?

After a few thousand losses, we'd be like "Dude , wtf? We surrender. this is insane." And with good reason.

WWI Alone killed something in the high 10 million people (I don't know the exact number)

WWII was much higher, over 60 millones I think.

Whatever the amount is too much. It's not that the Axis and allies were ok with it. It was and it is the nature of war: Good and bad people end up dead. Victory was measured by the amount of pain you were able to inflict (both infrastructure and human life) Tragic, people's lives treated no better than pawns on a giant chess table.

So much for being an "intelligent, civilized" species huh?

If your 60 million figure is correct, Soviets lost almost half of all WW2 deaths. Soviet military personnel killed, app. 8.5 million. Soviet citizens killed, app. 19 million, total, app. 27.5 million

How did Stalin keep Soviets from turning against him?

almost 1/2 were . escribió:

How did Stalin keep Soviets from turning against him?

Stalin had already purged anyone in his circle who might turn on him. Plus the Russians overall had the choice of misery under Stalin or death under Hitler. Hard to go looking to complain to Uncle Joe when your house is burning and the Nazis are raping and murdering your family. Time to jump into a T-34 and get your land back.

The European powers had built global empires over the previous centuries when Germany and Japan were a collection of feudal states. By the time they arrived at the bargaining table there was no room left. So they went to work building lethal war machines to force the issue. Technology and propaganda mind control coupled together turned a cold shower (for the allied powers) into a infernal bloodbath.

It's been estimated that 32 million military & civilian deaths occurred in the Pacific campaign alone. los Batalla de Okinawa was the bloodiest battle of the campaign with most every Japanese soldier fighting to the death. And many civilians took up arms and fought to the death or committed suicide. The population of the island was almost completely decimated.

Why were both the axis and allies OK with suffering losses in the tens of millions?

Could you even imagine if today 500,000 American soldiers died over a couple years? What about 5-10 million? What about if Japan started killing 10,000 Chinese evey day?

After a few thousand losses, we'd be like "Dude , wtf? We surrender. this is insane." And with good reason.

Read accounts of what the Battle of Verdun was like (WWI). Then follow up with Battles of Ypres and Battle of the Somme. It will definitely make you believe people just lost their minds, and that those fellows fighting were a different breed of people than we have today. Can't imagine being in a trench, seeing a platoon go out, get mowed down, then your commander says "your turn."

I don't agree with the German's attaching America and Britain but I wish they beat the Russians in 1941/42 and then made a deal with Britain to stop fighting before the US went to Europe/North Africa to fight. It would have been epic to see Stalin captured and put in a zoo or something. He was crazy and he caused so many millions of deaths outside of WW2 alone. The USSR caused so much carnage even after WW2 and now we have crazy Putin. I'm tempted to go to the Kremlin and tell them what I think. If Germany started Operation Barbarossa a few months earlier and didn't go so easy when they reached Smolensk they could of destroyed Moscow before the freezing winter stopped them in 1941. There would be so much less carnage and we wouldn't have Putin right now.

I'm just thinking that people back then were much more in the "flight or fight" response mode. People now of all the major countries have enjoyed complete peace for their entire life, and they don't want to lose it.

Also, you are scared of the unknown. Back then, the psychopathic leaders played their power games as usual and as they do today. However, people were pretty unaware of what other countries were like. So they were afraid and more easily propagandized.

Life was just tougher in general, and once people made it to a decent stock in life they were not going to give it up. Whereas today we all take a basic sustainance as a given in life. We've never been through true hardship on a large scale.

I am afraid of a country like China, because they have been propaganized so much that they attach their country/history/people and their way of life into "One China". which is a recipe for a populous willing to wage wars for the oligarchy.

I could not see a modern US populous willing to give up 1 million casualties.

I don't agree with the German's attaching America and Britain but I wish they beat the Russians in 1941/42 and then made a deal with Britain to stop fighting before the US went to Europe/North Africa to fight. It would have been epic to see Stalin captured and put in a zoo or something. He was crazy and he caused so many millions of deaths outside of WW2 alone. The USSR caused so much carnage even after WW2 and now we have crazy Putin. I'm tempted to go to the Kremlin and tell them what I think. If Germany started Operation Barbarossa a few months earlier and didn't go so easy when they reached Smolensk they could of destroyed Moscow before the freezing winter stopped them in 1941. There would be so much less carnage and we wouldn't have Putin right now.

The Germans had NO chance of conquering the USSR, just as Japan had NO chance of defeating the U.S.. Tweaking their attack plan or execution is rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. the Nazis lost the war the moment they crossed the Bug River in 1941.

I think there are several factors that can explain the insanity of how murderous WWII was.

First, people were just used to death back then. The Spanish Flu out break in 1918 killed about 675k in the US. That is about 250k more than the total US casualties in WWII. A lot of very treatable diseases and illnesses were fatal in the 1930s. And the industrial revolution made the workplace a very deadly place to be. So, having a young 21 year old get mowed down in some obscure battle during WWII wasn't as big of a shock as it would be today.

Second, the 19th century was chock full of war. It is no coincidence that the combatants in WW2 were all imperial powers of the 19th century that engaged in nearly continuous military combat during the 19th century. When Europeans weren't fighting each other they were carrying out bloody imperial conquests or suppressing rebellions. In the 19th century, when the US wasn't at war with itself, it was at war with Indian tribes. It was pretty much understood by the early 20th century that war was a part of life and every male would be a soldier in combat at some point.

Third, while there was a significant anti war movement in the US and Europe, it was quickly overrun by state run propaganda and anti-sedition laws. Eugene Debs was jailed for giving anti-war speeches during WWI. In Germany or Russia, you would not last long if you protested against the war.

Fourth, and finally, the more bloody the war got, the more determined everyone was to win. No one wanted to be the one to surrender or negotiate a peace treaty when so many lives had already been lost. Everyone was all in during WWII, which is why it was so deadly.

Fourth, and finally, the more bloody the war got, the more determined everyone was to win. No one wanted to be the one to surrender or negotiate a peace treaty when so many lives had already been lost. Everyone was all in during WWII, which is why it was so deadly.

I don't fully believe that everyone was "all-in" during WWII. Certainly France was never all-in, and it's pretty clear that Italy never really wanted to be there either. Once Germany took Poland in Sep '39, there was quite a lull before the rest of Europe got involved.

In WWI, all the major players were in and "throwing haymakers" in August 1914. Much more immediate and brutal start to the war.

As for why so many dead in WWII, the punishment on civilians was much, much higher than any other war. Obviously genocide was a large part of it, but so was constant aerial bombardment and the stealing of resources (Japan from China, Germany from Europe).

I don't agree with the German's attaching America and Britain but I wish they beat the Russians in 1941/42 and then made a deal with Britain to stop fighting before the US went to Europe/North Africa to fight. It would have been epic to see Stalin captured and put in a zoo or something. He was crazy and he caused so many millions of deaths outside of WW2 alone. The USSR caused so much carnage even after WW2 and now we have crazy Putin. I'm tempted to go to the Kremlin and tell them what I think. If Germany started Operation Barbarossa a few months earlier and didn't go so easy when they reached Smolensk they could of destroyed Moscow before the freezing winter stopped them in 1941. There would be so much less carnage and we wouldn't have Putin right now.

The Germans had NO chance of conquering the USSR, just as Japan had NO chance of defeating the U.S.. Tweaking their attack plan or execution is rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. the Nazis lost the war the moment they crossed the Bug River in 1941.

That's just like your OPINION man.

I don't agree with the German's attaching America and Britain but I wish they beat the Russians in 1941/42 and then made a deal with Britain to stop fighting before the US went to Europe/North Africa to fight. It would have been epic to see Stalin captured and put in a zoo or something. He was crazy and he caused so many millions of deaths outside of WW2 alone. The USSR caused so much carnage even after WW2 and now we have crazy Putin. I'm tempted to go to the Kremlin and tell them what I think. If Germany started Operation Barbarossa a few months earlier and didn't go so easy when they reached Smolensk they could of destroyed Moscow before the freezing winter stopped them in 1941. There would be so much less carnage and we wouldn't have Putin right now.

Are you saying that you wish Hitler and his Nazi Germany was not defeated and that they kept all the territories they conquered up to 1941-42, like France, Neatherlands, Belgium, Poland, etc. etc.? That seems to be what you are saying, but it's so crazy that I want to make sure.

I don't agree with the German's attaching America and Britain but I wish they beat the Russians in 1941/42 and then made a deal with Britain to stop fighting before the US went to Europe/North Africa to fight. It would have been epic to see Stalin captured and put in a zoo or something. He was crazy and he caused so many millions of deaths outside of WW2 alone. The USSR caused so much carnage even after WW2 and now we have crazy Putin. I'm tempted to go to the Kremlin and tell them what I think. If Germany started Operation Barbarossa a few months earlier and didn't go so easy when they reached Smolensk they could of destroyed Moscow before the freezing winter stopped them in 1941. There would be so much less carnage and we wouldn't have Putin right now.

The Germans had NO chance of conquering the USSR, just as Japan had NO chance of defeating the U.S.. Tweaking their attack plan or execution is rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. the Nazis lost the war the moment they crossed the Bug River in 1941. That's historically true - Germany was no match for the Soviet Union. The question has always been asked "what if" Germany did conquer Moscow in Operation Barborosa?

"But would the fall of Moscow have meant the defeat of the Soviet Union? Almost certainly not. In 1941 the Soviet Union endured the capture of numerous major cities, a huge percentage of crucial raw materials, and the loss of four million troops. Yet it still continued to fight. It had a vast and growing industrial base east of the Ural Mountains, well out of reach of German forces. And in Joseph Stalin it had one of the most ruthless leaders in world history—a man utterly unlikely to throw in the towel because of the loss of any city, no matter how prestigious."

"A scenario involving Moscow’s fall also ignores the arrival of 18 divisions of troops from Siberia—fresh, well-trained, and equipped for winter fighting. They had been guarding against a possible Japanese invasion, but a Soviet spy reliably informed Stalin that Japan would turn southward, toward the Dutch East Indies and the Philippines, thereby freeing them to come to the Moscow front. Historically, the arrival of these troops took the Germans by surprise, and an unexpected Soviet counteroffensive in early December 1941 produced a major military crisis. Surprised and disturbed, Hitler’s field commanders urged a temporary retreat in order to consolidate the German defenses. But Hitler refused, instead ordering that German troops continue to hold their ground. Historically they managed to do so. However, with German forces extended as far as Moscow and pinned to the city’s defense, this probably would not have been possible. Ironically, for the Germans, the seeming triumph of Moscow’s capture might well have brought early disaster."

In fact, Germany was ill-prepared to start a world-war. General Ludwig Beck, who was Chief of the German General Staff in 1938, felt that Germany needed more time to rearm before starting such a war. In his assessment, the earliest date Germany could risk a war was 1940, and any war started in 1938 would be a "premature war" that Germany would lose.

Of course, Hitler didn't listen and fired Beck, who was later involved and implicated in the assassination attempt on Hitler in 1944 (Operation Valkyrie). He was arrested and allowed to shoot himself to avoid torture by the Gestapo.


1. Japan’s Military Strength Went Weaker After The Defeat In The Midway’s Battle

The defeat of Midway’s battle had become a major wound on the imperialist Japanese Empire.

Japanese hoped that they would win the battle of Midway and to make it possible, their leaders Admiral Yamamoto, Nobutake Kondo, Chuichi Nagumo, y Tamon Yamaguchi had an amazing master plan.

Even, as per the plan, in the first phase of the battle, they fought using their full military capability.

But later as they expected, it didn’t happen.

Contrary, the game went against them. Mainly, US intelligence spoiled their entire plan.

The United States intelligence was already aware of their plan for Midway. They captured Japanese massages many days before.

As a result, Japan had to pay a big price.

During that four days battle, Japan lost the lives of 3057 experienced military personals four of their main aircraft carriers, named Akagi, Soryu, Kaga, and Hiryu got destroyed lost two destroyers name Arashio (in the bombing), Asashio 292 aircrafts got destroyed and faced many other major casualties.

After this battle, the military power of Japan reduced significantly. And therefore, their influence in WW2 also became much weaker.

2. Japan Also Lost The Hope of Controlling The Whole Pacific Region Alone

In the case of natural resources, Japan was always a poor country.

For a long time, they had been importing various natural resources including Oil, Coal from other countries mostly from Soviet Union, China, and the United States.

Before World War 2, they imported more than 50 percent of the resources from the United States.

But, from the late 1930s, they started taking expansionists policies against other countries, mainly against China.

To counter the Japanese aggression, the United States of America imposed some heavy economic sanctions against them.

Due to these economic embargoes, Japan started facing a lot of difficulties in meeting the shortage of natural resources.

However, they knew that the Pacific ocean was a massive source of natural resources.

Therefore, now to fulfill the need, they turned their motive to become the only emperor on the entire Pacific.

But there was a problem with their route and it was the United States of America.

Japan wanted somehow to end the United States’ influence from the Pacific.

As an act of its execution, on December 7th, 1941, the Japanese attacked the USA’s Pearl Harbor Island.

Here they succeed in causing devastating casualties, however failed to break the backbone of the US navy.

Hence again, with the same purpose, they also planned to attack Midway but somehow, this time, American intelligence already got information about that.

Earlier, the Japanese thought that after Midway’s attack, the USA would never be able to interfere in the Pacific region.

And using this opportunity, they would bring the US government to the table for peace negotiation.

But when the battle broke out, Japan had to face heavy defeat.

The defeat was so intense that it demolished their entire hope of controlling the whole Pacific alone.

Midway’s battle increased the US influence in the Pacific Ocean too much.

3. Allied Nations’ Morale Went Stronger To Win WW2

During World War 2 Japan, Italy, and Germany were fighting together against the Allied power nations.

Starting years of the War, there was a time came, when the Axis power was about to dominate the whole world.

But when Japan lost in the Midway’s battle and went weaker on the military side, then Allied nations’ morale went stronger.

It raised hope among Allied nations that they would win WW2. Because after this, Japan’s role did not remain as powerful as it was before.

4. The United States of America Became Much Stronger

After the decisive victory in the Midway battle, the United States of America became stronger than ever in WW2.

Their navy, Air force, and Ground military’s power and confidence went higher.

In 1945, the USA attacked Japan with Nuclear weapons.

The two atom bombs (Littleboy and Fatman), dropped in two of the main Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Within just three days, it caused the deaths of more than two hundred thousand Japanese people.


A Discussion about Sources ↑

Military statistics serve as the main sources: various armies originally published the following figures of soldiers killed. The exact origin of these statistics is key to any discussion of war losses, with four consequences.

First: As our main sources are armies, it is impossible to calculate war losses by naciones o empires. After the war, political leaders of new states tended to publish high figures of losses to show other nations how damaging the war had been for their people. But no one can say with any degree of certainty how many Poles or Czechs were killed. Some writers, though, tried to do just that. They first derived the number of Czech or Polish soldiers killed while wearing the Russian, German or Austro-Hungarian army uniforms based on the percentage of soldiers of each nationality within each imperial army. They then added these numbers to obtain, for example, the total Polish war dead. [1] This evaluation is highly problematic for three reasons. First, the definition of Polish territory varied between the three imperial armies, and does not coincide with Polish frontiers established in 1919. From what part of Poland did Polish soldiers come? Second, this evaluation made the assumption that Polish soldiers’ mortality rate was exactly the same as those of German or Russian soldiers. But this was just a hypothesis. It is impossible to ascertain whether Imperial Headquarters (German, Russian or Austro-Hungarian) engaged Polish soldiers as a matter of priority during battle, in order to preserve their own nationals, or, on the contrary, spared them out of distrust and fear of their possible connivance with the local population or their lack of fighting spirit. The German Headquarters preferred to send soldiers from Alsace to the Eastern rather than the Western Front. Incidentally, if one were to calculate French losses according to the same rules as Polish or Czech losses, one would include Alsatian soldiers killed while wearing the German uniform. Finally, since the armies’ losses were themselves calculated approximately, applying percentages of specific populations to them would only result in even more unreliable estimates. Better to avoid this and calculate losses not per nation but per army.

Second: War loss statistics were highly sensitive data. During the war, figures indicating the numbers of soldiers killed or wounded in action were arguments in political and military debates. High numbers of useless losses were invoked against commanders in chief, for example against Robert Nivelle (1856-1824) and Sir Douglas Haig (1861-1928) in 1917 such bloodletting was a major reason behind calls for their removal. Public opinion was shocked by the thousands dead on the first days of the Somme, the Chemin des Dames or Passchendaele, and the home population’s morale was at stake. Hence the armies were eager to conceal too high of losses in order to safeguard themselves from controversy. For this reason, it is likely that the main source of information was biased by commanders’ and their staffs’ temptation to minimise war losses.

Third: Regardless of this bias, armies were more interested in evaluating the number of living than dead soldiers. Commanders asked how many soldiers they could use in battle, how many were unavailable it did not matter whether the unavailable ones were dead or “only” wounded. For instance, the German Sanitätsbericht counted wounded soldiers coming back and those who did not return to the field army, but it did not distinguish in the latter group between those who died from their wounds and those who recovered but were sent home or discharged.

More generally, military sources used a category easy to understand, in order to find a place in the statistics for soldiers about whom nothing was known: the “missing”. Some missing were dead, others were prisoners of war (POWs), others were far from the trenches in rear hospitals, sometimes in foreign countries. Evaluations of war losses often included the missing. For the military, wherever they were, they were not on the battlefield. However, many of the missing were alive. French statistics provide monthly tables of war losses from November 1918 to July 1919 and surprisingly show a growing number of dead soldiers from month to month. A small reason for this growing death toll was that some soldiers died in hospitals after the armistice. But the main reason was the redistribution of those originally listed as missing into other categories: the dead, the wounded still in the army, the discharged. As the numbers were updated each month, new names slipped from the “missing” category to the category of those killed, wounded or discharged, each of which increased regularly. There were not new victims of the war, but rather artefacts of a better evaluation of war losses.

Fourth: Military statistics only registered officers and soldiers, not civilians. This makes such figures useless in counting not only the losses of civilian populations but also a small part of military losses after discharge. Some soldiers died from their wounds or illness after leaving the army. It would be fair to count them among war losses. Undoubtedly, for instance, gas victims are casualties of war, even when they were dressed in civilian clothes. However, it is impossible to include them in the calculation of war losses. Some of them died a few months after the armistice. Others had the chance to recover, to live many more years, dying perhaps from cancer or an accident, not from a gas-related illness. How should one separate these categories of cause of death? The only certainty is that evaluations of war losses are somewhat underestimated due to this difficulty.


According to the last update in 2008 from the National Archives, there were 58,220 U.S. military fatal casualties during the Vietnam War. All their names were honored on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington D.C.

Death by Casualties Type

Among 58,220 U.S. fatal casualties, there were 47,434 hostile deaths and 10,786 non-hostiles.

Casualty Type Number of Records
Killed (Hostile) 38,505
Died Of Wounds (Hostile) 5,242
Died While Missing (Hostile) 3,523
Died While Captured (Hostile) 116
Died Of Other Causes (Non-Hostile) 7,455
Died Of Illness (Non-Hostile) 1,990
Died While Missing (Non-Hostile) 1,353
Total 58,178 (1)

Death by Years

Year of Death Number of Records
1956-1962 78
1963 122
1964 216
1965 1,928
1966 6,350
1967 11,363
1968 16,899
1969 11,780
1970 6,173
1971 2,414
1972 759
1973 69
1974 1
1975 62
After 1975 7
Total 58,220

The first American soldier died in the Vietnam War was Richard B. Fitzgibbon, Jr., a U.S. Air Force Technical Sergeant. He was not killed in action but murdered by another U.S. airman and later died of his wounds on 8 June, 1956. On October 22, 1957, the U.S. forces suffered their first hostile casualties. Thirteen Americans were wounded in three terrorist bombings. Since then, number of terrorist incidents rose quickly. In the last quarter of 1957, 75 local officers were assassinated and kidnapped.

The U.S. casualties increased proportional to its growing military intervention in Vietnam. 1968 was the year when American troop strength in Vietnam peaked at around 540,000, which also happened to be the deadliest year with 16,899 deaths. The high casualty in 1968 also was caused by the first massive offensive from North Vietnam, widely known as Tet Offensive. In later years of the conflict, after President Nixon began to implement the Vietnamization policy, the number of soldiers decreased gradually and so did the number of deaths.

Charles McMahon and Darwin Lee Judge were the last American soldiers died during the war. The two men, both U.S. Marines, were killed on a rocket attack on April 29, 1975 – one day before the Fall of Saigon and South Vietnam. After the Vietnam War, seven more soldiers died by the wounds they had suffered in Vietnam.

Death by Rank

There were 7,878 (1) American officers died in Vietnam War, including 1,278 Warrant Officers, 2,981 Lieutenant, 2,045 Captain, 898 Major/Lt Commander, 426 Lt Colonel/Commander, 238 Colonel, and 12 who had reached the rank of general. Major general/Rear Admiral was the highest ranking personnel died in Vietnam. Among five major general’s deaths, there were two served in the United States Army, two in the United States Air Force, and the other one in the United States Marine Corps.

Death by Race

By race, the ratio of men who died was nearly proportional with the ratio of men who served.

RACE RATIO OF MEN WHO SEVERED (%) RATIO OF MEN WHO DIED (%) FALLECIDOS
blanco 88.4 85.6 49,830
Negro 10.6 12.4 7,243
Otro 1.0 2.0 1,147

Other Facts:

Dan Bullock is believed as the youngest Vietnam KIA at 15 years old.
Dwaine McGriff, the oldest person was honored on the Wall, died at 63 years old.
At least 25,000 soldiers who died in Vietnam War were 20 years old or younger.
There were eight women who died in Vietnam, seven of them served in the United States Army and one in the United States Air Force. The oldest woman died was Lt. Colonel Annie Ruth Graham, when she was 52. Annie was also the highest ranking woman died in Vietnam.